Science Fiction Book Review

Only an Alligator

(2001) Steve Aylett, Gollancz, 9.99, pbk, 133pp, ISBN 0-57506-906-6

Barny Juno, after accidentally entering the creepchannel, rescues an alligator. But the devil, Sweeney, considers the alligator his property and sets the demon Dietrich Hammerwire on Barny. The citizens of Accomplice already fear Barny somewhat, due to the menagerie he keeps at his house, so when he becomes a political football during the mayoral election between Mayor Rudloe and Doomed Eddie Gallo nobody is surprised. Can Barny's friends Edgy and Gregor help, or perhaps the philosophies of Violaine? Is the moral fibre under attack, or has everybody forgotten about it, or is it turning into pasta? Will anything be solved before the big parade, or is Accomplice doomed to confusion forever? Is the mayor so corrupt that he will never get rid of his floor lobsters? And what's going on out at the Swamp of Eternal Enmity/Degradation?

More surreal fun from the excellent Steve Aylett whose prose reads like codes and anagrams. Steve put the 'play' in wordplay while savaging his story into shape, spewing zombies, statues and moths who are willing to be kissed on the head. The bewildered Barny staggers through several attempts on his life, surviving through stupidity alone, drawing the reader along with etheric chains and something sticky. Not recommended for the weak minded, but should be sought after by lovers of Joyce, Jeff Noon, and Kurt Vonnegut. I can't wait to return to Accomplice...

Tony Chester

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